The Vegan Society (2019) mentions that approximately 1.16% of the population is vegan. However, the numbers are increasing with time. Therefore, it could be mentioned that “veganism” is one of the fastest-growing activism of identity building. Be it the US, UK or Aussies; veganism is present all over the globe. However, the shift from being a small sub-culture to mainstream identity has promoted additional aspects. This would be inclusive of veganism being treated more of a social identity rather than a personal choice. Similarly, this battles the concepts of personal identity, which could be referred to with the current growth of veganism across the globe.
Figure 1: Protest for Veganism (Source: medium.com, 2020)
While arguing with the possibility of vegans being identified as a social group, it is essential to understand that currently being vegan has become a style statement. In some cases, it has become a style of living or social statement. Therefore, vegans are often associated with social orientation due to their strong belief in the “vegan” system. These are all considered as signs that vegans have a specific way of thinking that builds their psychology. However, in cases, studies have shown the identity of vegans as a part of a cult following, which is unseen business opportunities (Davis, Love and Fares, 2019). It has been observed that some vegans are not well-adjusted to new ideas, and they may retort to violent force when opposed to their beliefs. This is associated with the effort they make to embrace their social identity as vegans.
Now, veganism could be associated with a social identity rather than a personal identity due to the growing number of vegans. This is further supported by specific stereotypes regarding veganism as a culture. Individuals following veganism as a personal identity could be observed all over the globe. Yet, they go unnoticed due to their lack of outspoken nature. Furthermore, veganism as a personal identity is a choice for various individuals. Hence, there is nothing to prove on their part, and they would be open to meat-eaters. For example, India holds one of the largest vegetarian cultures when compared to other parts of the globe (Phua, Jin and Kim, 2020). Yet, their vegetarianism culture is more like personal identity and personal choices, which is unlike the rest of the world.
Figure 2: Vegetarian Vs. Vegans (Source: Pinterest, 2018)
When veganism becomes a social identity, it could be affected from inside and outside. Hence, this is more open to factors that could drive the identity of the social group. However, this social identity is fundamentally based on how others see them as a group of people under the same reform. In certain cases, it has been observed that vegans may hold negative reception towards people who deny practising veganism. This initiates the ripple effect where the meat-eaters may feel the same way due to the negative attitude of the vegans for their eating style of standards. However, perception changes when the characters are related to vegetarians rather than vegans. Acceptance for vegetarians is higher than for vegans, potentially due to the lack of social identity. While veganism has become a “cult,” being vegetarian is associated with a personal choice of living or personal identification (Phua, Jin and Kim, 2020).
Figure 3: Social identify beliefs (Source: Nezlek and Forestell, 2020)
Or love for department stores has significantly fallen over the tears. This could be observed through various pieces of evidence. Such evidence would be House of Fraser, who had mentioned their intention to close 31 department stores. While this had affected a lot of employed people in those 31 stores, the decision would be associated with the cost-cutting and market trend for the organisation (BBC News, 2018). While investigating the lack of love for department stores, some of the reasons that could be observed are as follows:
Figure 4: House of Fraser (Source: BBC News, 2018)
Figure 5: Department store (Source: BBC News, 2018)
It is essential to note that there are not the only reasons for the lack of love for department stores. While some department stores continue to thrive in certain locations, most are unable to keep up their business (Tokosh and Chen, 2021). The lack of love could only be mentioned as the fall of department stores in response to the speed of change in the technological era.
BBC News (2018) Why we no longer love department stores. Available at: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-44358704#:~:text=3.,bid%20to%20keep%20tills%20ringing.&text=This%20squeezes%20margins%2C%20leaving%20department,spend%20on%20improving%20their%20shops. (Accessed: 12 March 2021).
Davis, J. L., Love, T. P., and Fares, P. (2019). Collective social identity: Synthesising identity theory and social identity theory using digital data. Social Psychology Quarterly, 82(3), 254-273. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0190272519851025
Nazir, S. (2019) The rise & fall of department stores – Retail Gazette. Available at: https://www.retailgazette.co.uk/blog/2019/08/department-stores-in-2019/ (Accessed: 12 March 2021).
Nezlek, J. and Forestell, C. (2020) “Vegetarianism as a social identity”, Current Opinion in Food Science, 33, pp. 45-51. doi: 10.1016/j.cofs.2019.12.005.
Phua, J., Jin, S. V., and Kim, J. (2020). The roles of celebrity endorsers’ and consumers’ vegan identity in marketing communication about veganism. Journal of Marketing Communications, 26(8), 813-835. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13527266.2019.1590854
The Vegan Society (2019) Social identity and veganism. Available at: https://www.vegansociety.com/about-us/research/research-news/social-identity-and-veganism (Accessed: 12 March 2021).
Tokosh, J., and Chen, X. (2021). Did the Macy’s in my mall close? Revisiting the closures of Macy’s, Sears, and JCPenney stores. GeoJournal, 1-25. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10708-021-10386-6Order Now